– After Friday’s practice in Buffalo, Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara
admitted that as the captain of the team, he feels responsible when his squad is not playing up to their potential.
He also admitted there is only so much you can do as one player.
But in the First Niagara Center last night, Chara left it all on the ice even as his team fell short and lost to the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 in a shootout.
“I thought we competed hard, it was a really close game – really tight game, Chara said. “Both teams played a really tight defensive game – we saw only two goals in  minutes and went to the shootout.
“[Buffalo] played really well too, and [both] goalies made good saves on both sides.”
Heading into the third period, the Bruins (36-20-3) were trailing the Sabres (27-27-7) after a goal from Andrej Sekera late in the second.
But just over three minutes into the third period, Chara ripped a shot from the top of the circle past Miller to even the score at 1-1 – his first goal in 10 games.
After taking one shot and missing, Chara intercepted a clearing attempt by a Sabres’ skater and buried the power play goal.
“Well, there was a battle in the corner,” Chara said. “They got to the puck, and I just kind of picked a side he would go to where the puck was, and from there I was trying to put a good shot on net and it just went in.”
But Chara’s real highlight of the night came in the overtime frame when Thomas Vanek put a shot on a wide-open net.
It appeared as if goaltender Tuukka Rask
made the poke check, but replay showed it was Chara who blocked the vacated net, and Rask didn’t hesitate to give his teammate the credit.
“I wasn’t sure if [Chara] was behind me in the first place,” Rask said. “I was just focused on the shooter and I think Zee read it, he got his stick in the way and that was a good play by him.”
In the last six games, Chara finished with a minus rating in four of them, but Head Coach Claude Julien said the dip in his captain’s play wasn’t any different from anybody else on the team.
Overall, the B’s bench boss was impressed with Chara’s recent performance.
“He’s been good again -- solid -- moving the puck well and he scored that goal that earned us at least a point tonight,” said Julien.--Anthony Gulizia